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Blog Tour & Giveaway: Sparks Rise by Alexandra Bracken

September 16th, 2014 @ 12:05 am
Posted by Kristie under Blog Tour Tags: Alexandra Bracken, Dystopian, In the Afterlight, Sparks Rise, The Darkest Minds Series, Young Adult

Alexandra BrackenDark Faerie Tales is excited to hosting an excellent giveaway to celebrate the release of Sparks Rise and In the Afterlight by Alexandra Bracken. Sparks Rise is a brand new eBook novella that connects the last two novels in The Darkest Minds series. The novella was released on September 2, 2014 and also includes a bonus chapter from In the Afterlight. The final novel in the series will be released on October 28, 2014.

A very big thank you to Disney-Hyperion for today’s awesome giveaway! One very lucky winner will win a floating bookshelf and The Darkest Minds series & tote bag!!

About Alexandra:

Alexandra Bracken was born and raised in Arizona, but moved east to study at the College of William & Mary in Virginia.  She recently relocated to New York City, where she worked in publishing and lives in a charming apartment overflowing with books. 

You can visit Alexandra around the web here: Website | Twitter | Facebook 

 Instagram | Tumblr

Hyperion Teens WebsiteHyperion Teens Twitter

Want to read more from Alexandra Bracken?

The Darkest Minds (The Dark...In Time (The Darkest Minds,...Never Fade (The Darkest Min...Sparks Rise (The Darkest Mi...In the Afterlight (The Dark...

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contest

This contest is provided by Disney-Hyperion!

One very lucky winner will win a floating bookshelf and The Darkest Minds series & tote bag!!
(US only)

In the Afterlight BluePrizePack

*Keep an eye out for more giveaways!* This campaign includes prize packs to represent each of the 5 Psi groups. Seek out all 5 color pack prizes – there will be a total of 50 Psi-group giveaways across the book blogosphere throughout September & October leading up to the release of In the Afterlight!

isolated on white bright yellow sparks

Sparks Rise

Available September 3, 2014 from Disney Hyperion

About this Book:

Don’t miss the thrilling novella that connects the last two novels in the New York Times best-selling Darkest Minds trilogy.

Sam didn’t think things could get worse at Thurmond rehabilitation camp. Then the Reds arrive. Everyone assumed the kids with firepower had been killed years ago. Instead they were taken away, brainwashed, and returned as terrifyingly effective guards. To her horror, Sam recognizes one of them: Lucas, the one spark of light in Sam’s dark childhood. Lucas has a deadly secret–he beat the brutal training that turned his fellow Reds into mindless drones. When Sam defends herself against an attack by a vile PSF guard and faces a harrowing punishment, Lucas must risk his everything to save her.

Includes a bonus preview chapter from the final Darkest Minds novel, In the Afterlight.

Order from

In The Afterlight

Available October 28, 2014 from Disney Hyperion

About this Book:

Ruby can’t look back. Fractured by an unbearable loss, she and the kids who survived the government’s attack on Los Angeles travel north to regroup. With them is a prisoner: Clancy Gray, son of the president, and one of the few people Ruby has encountered with abilities like hers. Only Ruby has any power over him, and just one slip could lead to Clancy wreaking havoc on their minds.

They are armed only with a volatile secret: proof of a government conspiracy to cover up the real cause of IAAN, the disease that has killed most of America’s children and left Ruby and others like her with powers the government will kill to keep contained. But internal strife may destroy their only chance to free the “rehabilitation camps” housing thousands of other Psi kids.

Meanwhile, reunited with Liam, the boy she would-and did-sacrifice everything for to keep alive, Ruby must face the painful repercussions of having tampered with his memories of her. She turns to Cole, his older brother, to provide the intense training she knows she will need to take down Gray and the government. But Cole has demons of his own, and one fatal mistake may be the spark that sets the world on fire.

Pre-Order from

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Fall Carnival: Chasing Power by Sarah Beth Durst

September 16th, 2014 @ 12:04 am
Posted by Kristie under Fall Carnival Tags: Chasing Power, Paranormal, Sarah Beth Durst, Young Adult

Fall Carnival Event

Contortionists are known to be able to bend their bodies in unnatural positions and some might say they are a freak of nature. Well you folks are in for a real treat today because trust me when I say you have never seen someone like Kayla. She can’t bend her body in weird ways but you better believe she can do unnatural things that mold her life into what she wants.  Like check your back pockets, is anyone missing a wallet or purse? Kayla is known to be pretty sneaky and one of her extraordinary talents is being able to move things with her mind.  She likes to practice on things like wallets, jewelry and anything of value.  She has agreed to join us today for a wonderful demonstration of her unique powers.  She has promised to be on her best behavior, but be careful to check you have everything when you leave!

Chasing Power-001

*Enter to win a copy of Chasing Power at the end of this post*

*Don’t forget to enter the grand giveaway for your chance to win 2 books featured during the Fall Carnival Event!!! Click HERE for your chance to win!*

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DFT: To start things off can you give us a short synopsis of Chasing Power and where you got the inspiration to write it?

Sarah: CHASING POWER is the story of Kayla, a sixteen-year-old girl who can move things with her mind, and Daniel, a boy who can teleport across continents and who lies as easily as he travels. Together, they embark on an Indiana-Jones-style adventure to find and steal an ancient incantation, written on three indestructible stones and hidden millennia ago, all to rescue Daniel’s kidnapped mother. But Kayla has no idea that this rescue mission will lead back to her own family, and to betrayals that she may not be able to forgive… or survive.

This novel started with one of those questions you ask your friends really late at night after you’ve dissected everyone’s personal life and finished speculating on the health of everyone’s relationships.  Namely: “If you could have any superpower in the world, what would it be?”  And it can’t be ending-world-hunger or something equally impressively selfless.

I chose telekinesis, simply because it would be fun.  And that’s where this story began.

DFT: Kayla is a very witty heroine with a smart mouth, but she is also has a really big heart.  I loved all the funny things she would say to try and lighten the mood. Do you have a favorite line of hers that you could share with us?

Sarah: I loved writing Kayla.  She has a very loose grasp on the concept of personal possessions — with her telekinesis, she’s an excellent pickpocket and shoplifter — and she isn’t close to many people, but the ones she does love (her mother Moonbeam and her friend Selena), she loves fiercely.  This is one of my favorite non-spoilery moments with her and her mom:

“You and me, we could do it cheap.  Stay in hostels.  Camp.  Backpack around.  I heard you can get a train pass around Europe for not too much.  Or maybe we could go to Asia.  Or South America.  See the rainforests and commune with the medicine men, or whatever you want.”

“Aren’t you supposed to be in some teenage rebellion stage and not want to be seen in public with your highly embarrassing mother?”  Moonbeam brought out a canister of tea leaves.

“That’s so eighties. But if you want, we can schedule in some time for me to cringe in between climbing the Eiffel Tower and shopping on the Champs-Élysées.”

DFT: Selena and Kayla have been best friends since the third grade and even though they are unlikely friends they are inseparable. They always have each other’s back no matter what. Growing up did you have a friend like Selena? 

Sarah: Yes, I had two best friends growing up, one I met in nursery school and one I met in sixth grade.  I named the best friend character in my first book (INTO THE WILD) after one of them, and I dedicated CHASING POWER to the other.

DFT: Daniel was totally a swoon worthy boy that I instantly fell for.  I don’t know which one was better his stormy grey eyes or his determination to find his mother!  If you can without spoiling anything can you tell us your favorite Daniel moment from the book?

Sarah: I rather love the moment that Kayla first meets Daniel, because he’s trying so hard to be cool and mysterious, but inside he’s completely terrified that she won’t agree to help him save his mother:

“Okay, Danny, now that we’re best buds, how do you know who I am?  Have you been stalking me?  Because that’s not what friends do.”  She tried to ignore the prickly feeling that walked over her skin.  He couldn’t know what she did, what she could do.  Also, you couldn’t get more public than the center of State Street.  She was perfectly safe.  This had nothing to do with Dad.

“Daniel.  Not Dan.  Not Danny.  And how about I tell you a story?  You can buy me a coffee.  It might take a while.”

“I don’t buy guys coffee.  You seem to be unclear on how this works.  You’re hitting on me.  I’m not obliged in any way to supply the beverages in this situation.  Besides, I have to meet a friend soon.”

Daniel stood.  He blocked the sun, and the light framed him, obscuring his features.  She wasn’t certain if he was smiling or smirking.  He looked a bit like a dark angel, dressed in all black with the sun halolike around him.  “You’ll want to make an exception for me,” he said.

(I should note that Kayla puts up with this attitude for about thirty seconds.  If that.)

DFT: The mother/daughter relationship between Kayla and Moonbeam was really sweet.  Ideally I think all parents would love to have such a good relationship with their children, but most of the time that’s not the case.  Was there a real mother/daughter relationship you used to inspire the one in the book or was it just a figment of your imagination?

Sarah: My mother isn’t anything like Moonbeam, and I’m nothing like Kayla.  But I did draw on my close friendship with my mom to fuel the emotions behind Kayla and Moonbeam’s relationship.

In general, I try not to base my characters on real people.  In order to sink into the story as I write, I need my characters to feel as if they exist (and could only exist) in their particular world.  That said, I do know that bits of myself and my life, things that I think are important or funny or frightening, do sneak into my stories.  It’s inevitable.

ChasingPowerCover_HiRes

DFT: The characters in your book have some amazing magical powers that would be fun to have. If you could possess any type of magical ability what would it be and why?

Sarah: I have given this WAY more thought than I should have…  Not flight (because I’m not so fond of heights, or crashing down into power lines).  Not invisibility (because dangerous — you could be hit by a car).  Not talking to animals (because they’d mostly say, “Feed me!  Feed me!  Feed me!”).  Firestarting seems alarming.  Ice powers seem cold.  Mindreading seems headache-inducing, ditto other forms of telepathy.  Teleporting… only if you could guarantee you didn’t appear inside solid rock and instantly die.  So that leave telekinesis.

DFT: There are carnivals held all over the world.  If you had Daniel’s ability to teleport, where is the one place you would love to visit a carnival?

Sarah: Antarctica.  Those emperor penguins know how to party.

DFT: If Kayla, Daniel, Selena, and Sam were to go on a double date to a carnival what one food would each of them want to try?

Sarah: Kayla… cotton candy.  It’s light enough for her to control with her mind.

Selena… candy apple.  Her nail polish would match the color.

Daniel… fried pickles.  I have no idea why I think that, but I’m convinced he’d like them.

Sam… funnel cake with Nutella.  And now I’m suddenly hungry…

DFT: Since Chasing Powers is a standalone like most of you works can you tell us what we can expect to see from you next?

Sarah: My next book will be THE GIRL WHO COULD NOT DREAM, coming from Clarion Books (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) in fall 2015.  It’s about a girl whose family owns a secret store where they buy, bottle, and sell dreams, but who can’t have any of her own, and the adventure that she and her pet monster go on when someone starts kidnapping dreamers.

Quick Fire Questions:

Favorite movie?  You mean besides Star Wars?  Because that’s really the only answer.  I first saw Star Wars at such a formative age that it pretty much defines the concept of storytelling for me.  I also love The Princess Bride, The Dark Crystal, and Labyrinth.

Favorite book?  Ooh, this one is tougher.  I’m going to cheat and choose three: Alanna by Tamora Pierce, The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley, and Deep Wizardry by Diane Duane.  Favorite series is The Belgariad by David Eddings.

Favorite food?  Raspberries.  And chocolate.  Also Raisinets — they’re my writing muse.

Favorite TV show?  Of all time… Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  Of current shows… So You Think You Can Dance, also Project Runway.

Favorite genre to write?  Fantasy.  I was the kind of kid who always checked her closet for an entrance to Narnia, so it was kind of inevitable that I’d write fantasy.

Favorite sport?  Ice skating.  I’m clumsier than a newborn giraffe when I try to do it, but I love to watch it.

Thanks so much for interviewing me!

______________________________________________________________________

Sarah Beth DurstAbout Sarah:

Sarah Beth Durst is the author of eight fantasy novels for teens and adults. Her YA titles include Conjured, Vessel, Drink Slay Love, Enchanted Ivy, Ice, Out of the Wild, and Into the Wild. Her first book for adults, The Lost, came out in June 2014 from Harlequin/Mira, and her next book for teens, Chasing Power, comes out in October 2014 from Bloomsbury. She was awarded the 2013 Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Children’s Literature and has been a finalist for SFWA’s Andre Norton Award three times.

Sarah was born in Northboro, Massachusetts, a small town that later became the setting for her debut novel. At the age of ten, she decided she wanted to be a writer. (Before that, she wanted to be Wonder Woman, except with real flying ability instead of an invisible jet. She also would have accepted a career as a unicorn princess.) And she began writing fantasy stories. She attended Princeton University, where she spent four years studying English, writing about dragons, and wondering what the campus gargoyles would say if they could talk. Sarah lives in Stony Brook, New York, with her husband and two children.

You can visit Sarah around the web here: Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook

Want to read more from Sarah Beth Durst?

Into the Wild (Into the Wil...Out of the Wild (Into the W...IceDrink, Slay, LoveVesselEnchanted IvyConjuredThe LostThe Missing (The Lost, #2)

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contest

This giveaway is provided by Sarah Beth Durst!

One lucky reader will win a copy of Chasing Power
(US only)

ChasingPowerCover_HiRes

Available October 14, 2014 from Bloomsbury

About this Book:

Sixteen-year-old Kayla was born with the ability to move things with her mind—things like credit cards and buttons on cash registers—and she has become a master shoplifter. She steals to build up enough money for her and her mom to be able to flee if her dad finds them again . . . which would mean grave danger for them both.

When she’s caught stealing by a boy named Daniel—a boy with the ability to teleport—he needs her help and is willing to blackmail her to get it. Together, they embark on a quest to find and steal an ancient incantation, written on three indestructible stones and hidden millennia ago, all to rescue Daniel’s kidnapped mother. But Kayla has no idea that this rescue mission will lead back to her own family—and to betrayals that she may not be able to forgive . . . or survive.

Click HERE to read an excerpt

Pre-Order from

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Review: Red Handed by Gena Showalter

September 15th, 2014 @ 9:20 am
Posted by Bridget under Review Tags: Gena Showalter, Red Handed, Review, Science Fiction, Young Adult, Young Adult Alien Huntress Series

Red HandedTitle: Red Handed

Author: Gena Showalter

Genre: YA Sci-Fi

Series: YA Alien Huntress (Book #1)

Publication Date: June 19, 2007

Format: Paperback, 288 Pages

ISBN-10: 1416532242 (MTV Books)

ISBN-13: 978-1416532248 (MTV Books)

Reviewed by: Bridget

Synopsis:

She’s been chosen to fight the elusive enemy among us….

Phoenix Germaine has been trying to earn back her mother’s trust after going into rehab and kicking Onadyn — the drug of choice for New Chicago teens. But when a party in the woods turns into an all-out battle with the most ferocious aliens Phoenix has never seen, she’s brought home in what appears to be an Onadyn-induced state. Hello, reform school.

Except, what her mother doesn’t know is that Phoenix has just been recruited to join the elite Alien Investigation and Removal agency, where she’ll learn to fight dirty, track hard, and destroy the enemy. Her professional training will be rigorous and dangerous, and the fact that one of her instructors is Ryan Stone — the drop-dead gorgeous, nineteen-year-old agent she met in the woods that night — doesn’t make things any easier. Especially when dating him is totally against the rules….

Wildly imaginative, action-packed, and thrilling, Red Handed launches Gena Showalter’s stunning new alien huntress series.

Quick & Dirty: Fun story with engaging characters, awesome writing, and tons of action. I would highly recommend this to any YA sci-fi fans that love aliens!

Opening Sentence: I’d always loved the night, where anything could happen and everything usually did.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Phoenix Germaine has a serious drug problem with Onadyn. It is a drug that was designed to help aliens deal with our oxygen levels, for humans it will give you the most amazing high. It is very addictive and once you start using it is almost impossible to stop. Phoenix has been to rehab twice and this time she is determined to stay clean. But one night she decides to go out with her friends to a party, and things go terribly wrong when a bunch of hostile aliens show up. Phoenix ends up being taken home and it looks like she is high as a kite. Her mother decides to send her to reform school because she just doesn’t know what else to do.

But it turns out the Phoenix has actually been recruited to join A.I.R., a secret agency that hunts down dangerous aliens and protects humans from them. Aliens have been a part of the world for a long time now and most people think that they are completely harmless, but A.I.R. knows better. Most aliens do live on earth peacefully and the government wants the general public to ignore any of the dangerous ones so they don’t cause problems with the peaceful aliens. At the school Phoenix will be taught how to fight, track, and eliminate any threat from aliens. She has finally found where she belongs, but this school has very strict rules and if you break any of them you will be kicked out. This isn’t a problem until Phoenix realizes that one of her instructors is the gorgeous Ryan Stone, one of the guys that helped rescue her friends in the woods, and student/instructor relationships is very much against the rules.

Phoenix was a great heroine that I liked instantly! She was feisty, smart and determined. I loved that she has a rough past and has made some really bad decisions, it made her feel more human. She has owned up to her mistakes and is doing everything in her power to change herself. I respect her for being so strong when it came to her addiction and making something of herself. She has a fun spunky attitude and is one of those people that always has a comeback. She was so easy to like and I am glad I got to read her story.

Ryan was a sexy love interest, but I felt that I didn’t really get to know him very well. He’s not in the book a whole lot and the few moments where he is you don’t really get to learn about him. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t like him because I did, he was interesting and drop dead gorgeous so what’s not to like. His relationship with Phoenix was full of great sexual tension and they had awesome chemistry. I wish I would have been able to know more about his background just so I could have connected with him better, but he was still a very fun character.

Red Handed was a very quick read full of action, romance, and fun characters. It is one of those books that you pick up and just fly right through it. I wouldn’t say that there was a ton of substance to the story but it was still very entertaining. While I did enjoy the romance it did have a slightly instalove feel to it, and I wish it would have been a little more developed. I am actually fairly new to Showalter’s works but everything I have read by her so far has been fantastic. I love her writing, it is quirky, creative, sexy, and just fun. This is a YA spinoff of Showalter’s adult Alien Huntress series, but this can be read completely separate. I personally haven’t read the adult series but I know that some of the same characters appear in the story, so if you were a fan of Alien Huntress series I would recommend you give this one a try. Also, if you are just a YA sci-fi fan and are looking for a great read you should check this one out.

Notable Scene:

I was once again alone with Ryan—who I wasn’t sure I liked. He was too bossy, too arrogant, too everything. But I knew I liked to look at him. He was a (sexy) mystery, a (beautiful) confusing puzzle.

“What’s your name?” he asked me. His blue eyes were swirling, churning. Like an ocean tempest.

“Phoenix.”

“Cute,” he said.

“You wouldn’t think so if it was your name,” I grumbled.

His lips twitched into a smile. (I was talking about you, not the name. But I like that, too.”

Young Adult Alien Huntress Series:

1. Red Handed

2. Blacklisted

FTC Advisory:  MTV Books/Simon & Schuster provided me with a copy of Red Handed. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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Review: Rites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley

September 15th, 2014 @ 9:00 am
Posted by Bridget under Review Tags: Contemporary, Joy N. Hensley, Review, Rites of Passage, Young Adult

Rites of PassageTitle: Rites of Passage

Author: Joy N. Hensley

Genre: YA Contemporary

Series: N/A

Publication Date: September 9, 2014

Format: Hardcover, 416 Pages

ISBN-10: 0062295195 (HarperTeen)

ISBN-13: 978-0062295194 (HarperTeen)

Reviewed by: Bridget

Synopsis:

Sam McKenna’s never turned down a dare. And she’s not going to start with the last one her brother gave her before he died.

So Sam joins the first-ever class of girls at the prestigious Denmark Military Academy. She’s expecting push-ups and long runs, rope climbing and mud-crawling. As a military brat, she can handle an obstacle course just as well as the boys. She’s even expecting the hostility she gets from some of the cadets who don’t think girls belong there. What she’s not expecting is her fiery attraction to her drill sergeant. But dating is strictly forbidden and Sam won’t risk her future, or the dare, on something so petty…no matter how much she wants him.

As Sam struggles to prove herself, she discovers that some of the boys don’t just want her gone—they will stop at nothing to drive her out. When their petty threats turn to brutal hazing, bleeding into every corner of her life, she realizes they are not acting alone. A decades-old secret society is alive and active… and determined to force her out.
At any cost.

Now time’s running short. Sam must decide who she can trust…and choosing the wrong person could have deadly consequences.

Quick & Dirty: Inspirational story that I couldn’t put down. With its amazing characters, adorable romance, and heart wrenching emotion this is one of the best books I have read all year.

Opening Sentence: I’M PHYSICALLY INCAPABLE OF SAYING NO TO A DARE—I’VE got the scars and broken bone count to prove it.

Excerpt: No

The Review:

Sam McKenna has decided to join the first ever group of girls to attend the prestigious Denmark Military Academy. Until this year the school has only allowed boys into the school, but Sam’s older brother dared her to go. Sam has never been good at turning down a dare and this one is even more important since it was the last one her brother gave her before he died.

Sam grew up in a military family so she knows what is expected of her physically but she never planned on everything else. First off, any kind of relationship with any of the other students is completely prohibited which Sam is totally fine with until she starts falling for her drill sergeant. She knew that there were going to be other students that wouldn’t want her to succeed, but she had no idea what lengths they would go to make her leave. Sam would do anything to prove that she has what it takes, but how much can she handle before she breaks?

Sam is one of those girls you can’t help but admire and respect. She has taken on a huge task and it amazed me how well she handled everything that was thrown at her. She is tough as nail and proves time and time again that she is just as good as any of the boys. But she also has some very girly moments that helped remind me that she is very much a teenage girl. From the moment I met her I was instantly rooting for her, but that doesn’t mean that she was a perfect. She had some flaws, especially when it comes to asking others for help and she is extremely stubborn. I loved being inside her head and I think she a very inspirational character.

Thinking about Drill makes me melt inside. He is the epitome of what I think a hot army man should be. Not only does he have an amazing body and rugged good looks, he also is a great man with a big heart. He really takes to heart that your Company is your family and I loved he treated the girls like they belonged just as much as anyone else. He is super protective of all of his recruits, including the girls, but he doesn’t baby them either. He pushes them to be the best because he actually believes that they can be the best. If someone is struggling he takes time out of his busy schedule to help which just goes to prove how amazing he is. I could seriously go on and on about how wonderful he is, so I am going to stop. But if you can’t already tell, I am madly in love with Drill and he has become one of my favorite book boys ever!

I have to designate part of this review to the fantastic romance. The thing I loved most about Sam and Drill’s relationship is that it isn’t based just off of physical attraction. Initially it started as a deep respect and admiration for each other. Eventually it turned into something more, but this is honestly the best way to start a long lasting relationship with anyone.  That doesn’t mean that they don’t have amazing chemistry because trust me, there are some pretty intense moments between them where the sexual tension is running sky high!!!  The development was done perfectly and they have become one of my all time favorite couples!

Rites of Passage is an inspirational story that tugs at your heart strings, but it is also extremely entertaining. You have adorable romance, crazy drama, and a few suspenseful moments as well. I will admit that it did take me a little bit to get into the story, but once I was hooked I couldn’t put it down. The other thing that was so great is that I have personally never read a YA book that has taken place at a military school and it really worked for me. I love that Hensley tackled a bunch of sensitive subjects and implemented them into such a wonderful story. I feel like everyone can find something to connect with in the story and that is really rare. Whether it be that you are a minority, or a different race, or a girl trying to do something only boys do, it doesn’t matter, if you are willing to put in the work you can make any of your dreams come true. Hensley’s writing is phenomenal and I can’t believe this is her debut novel. I can personally say that she has a fan for life in me and I will gladly read anything else she writes. While the ending of this was very satisfying there is a possibility that there may be more which I really hope there is. If you are looking for a fun, clean contemporary romance this is a must read for you!

Notable Scene:

“Alpha, lower your left hand onto the hand of the recruit buddy to your left. Lean your shoulder into him. Let him support you.”

And just like that, Drill is there, a rock to lean against. I lean into his shoulder, easing some of the pain. I support Nix to my right, his body heavy on my shoulder. We all shake, we all sweat, including

Drill, who did every exercise with us tonight.

“Now listen to the words of the song. You are Alpha. You eat together, breathe together. You live together and you die together. Never forget that. Feel the weight of your recruit buddy. Know that you are holding him up. Feel the weakness in your own muscles. Know that you would not still be up if your recruit buddy wasn’t helping you. This year is all about you becoming a unit. You will ‘all go down together!’” His words echo the chorus of the song.

My eyes sting, and Nix, who never cries, no matter how bad the smoke shows get, sniffles to my right. I’m not alone in this moment and Drill is fully responsible.

“Thank you,” I whisper as the music fades.

He leans closer to me. “You belong here. Don’t let anyone tell you different.”

FTC Advisory:  HarperTeen provided me with a copy of Rites of Passage.  No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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Fall Carnival: Invisible by Dawn Metcalf

September 15th, 2014 @ 12:05 am
Posted by Kristie under Fall Carnival Tags: Dawn Metcalf, Invisible, Paranormal, The Twixt Series, Young Adult

Fall Carnival Event

Welcome everyone to the Carousel Ride.  Watch your step as you enter we don’t want anyone falling and gouging their eye out! As you can see our Carousel isn’t filled with beautiful ponies to ride instead you will get the opportunity to sit upon the various creatures that reside in The Twixt, a mythical land filled with wonderfully scary, weird and imaginative monsters. Don’t worry all the creatures you see before you are just replicas of what the real things look like. I promise that you are completely safe, but as you start to spin around on the ride make sure to keep your eyes open in case you happen to see a Scribe. They are creatures sent to mark humans to try and keep the balance between our world and theirs.  If you happen to see one be wary because that means you have The Sight and Scribes are ordered to blind anyone that can see them!  Don’t worry it is very rare so I’m sure you won’t be seeing anyone strange tonight!  So what do you say are you ready to enter into The Twixt?

Invisible DM

*Enter to win an ARC of  Invisible at the end of this post*

*Don’t forget to enter the grand giveaway for your chance to win 2 books featured during the Fall Carnival Event!!! Click HERE for your chance to win!*

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*Please enjoy this “exclusive content” for INVISIBLE: the original Chapter One that was cut from the manuscript! It features Joy at her day job and, having been a waitress myself for many years, this was dear to my heart but we liked beginning it with action right away–hence Chapter Two became the new Chapter One! Still, it might be fun to show a little “rewind” (like putting the Carousel in reverse)!  ;-) *

CHAPTER ONE

Joy grabbed the first ceramic platter piled high with Cobb salad and ran a moist towel around the rim, making it neat. There was a soup-and-sandwich combo and a small fettuccine with mussels, heads of steam curling above them like clouds. Joy sprinkled it with obligatory Parmesan cheese and checked her cheat sheet.

“Move,” Miguel urged from the kitchen. “Order up.”

“Sounds like someone’s in a mood,” Neil said as he came for his orders. The lanky blond boy grabbed two specials, plunked them on his tray, and sprinkled them generously in one, smooth move. “Be careful with the plates—they just came out of the washer. You haven’t been here long enough to develop your oven mitts yet.” He waggled his fingers and dashed off.

Bracing herself, Joy grabbed the pasta dish. It slipped out of her grip with a bang.

“Ow!” Joy winced as hot broth splashed over her hand. She popped her thumb in her mouth. The spot tasted hot on her tongue. “Damn.”

Miguel glared and wiped the spill with a rag. “We don’t have time for this. You told Lola you could tackle lunch rush.”

“I can,” Joy said, wiping her hand on her apron. “I am.”

She grabbed the plates quickly, ignoring the steady burning in the crook of her arm as she crossed the café. Table Two needed their waters refilled and Table Three looked impatient. Joy wondered how she ever thought high school was stressful. She smiled for Table One.

“Cobb salad,” she said, placing the platter between them, “Fettuccine Antoine and a Tomato Soup and Sandwich.” Joy lowered the plate to the table, fingers screaming. “Please be careful,” she cautioned. “The plate is very hot.” She tucked her smarting hands behind her. “Is there anything else I can get you? More water?”

“Yes, thank you,” the first woman said. “And the check.”

Joy’s heart fell. There went the upcharge for coffee and dessert. “Very good…”

“Oh no,” the second woman said. “This is my treat.”

“You got it last time.”

“I insist,” the older woman turned to Joy. “Listen, dear, if you want a tip, you will bring me the check, understood?”

Two dings from the kitchen. Saved by the bell.

“Excuse me, ladies.” Joy fled.

“Table Five, ready and waiting,” Miguel said and dropped the plates in a row.

Joy filled a pitcher with ice, rolling her hand in the cold. What she wouldn’t give to have one of the Twixt’s medicinal poultices right now. Or Ink’s soothing touch on her skin. She missed him in all of her in-between moments. Snatches of thought belonged to him. “Be right there.”

Lola marched out of the back office and grabbed a stack of menus to update the specials page, red nails matched her lipstick and high heels. She glared at Joy.

“What are you doing?”

“I burned my thumb,” Joy said.

Lola tucked a streaked curl into place. “Enough to file an accident report?”

Joy dropped the ice and wiped her hand against her apron. “No.”

“Then get moving. Your tables need refilling and you’re taking up space.” Joy shrank inside. She wasn’t certain if Lola was talking about the plate orders or her. “Miguel? Send one of the boys to prep. We have a party of ten at twelve-thirty.” Lola turned on her smart red pump and marched back into her office, shutting the door behind her. Joy felt the heat on her face prickle like sunburn.

Miguel shouted to the kitchen in rapid Spanish. Someone dropped their tub of dishes. He rapped the counter with a ladle to get her attention. “Now, Ponytail!”

Joy reached for her plates as one of the busboys sped past. She swerved out of the way, but he bounced into Neil right behind her.

“Watch it!” Neil said, too late. The spaghetti order slid sideways, slithering over the edge of the plate, and hit his pantleg on its way to the floor. The busboy bolted. Joy grabbed a towel.

“Great,” Neil muttered, wiping his hand on a napkin. “So much for Table Six.”

Joy scooped up the mess. “What was it?”

Neil brushed off his pants. “Spaghetti marinara.”

Joy threw the lump of warm noodles and paper towels into the garbage. “I’ve got one,” she said, grabbing a plate from Table Three. “Here. Take it.”

“You’re sure?” he asked.

She nodded. “I can stall them,” she said. “Look: winning smile!” She flashed one of her dazzling trademarks leftover from gymnastics training. It still worked its magic—Neil looked impressed.

“Thanks.” Neil said as he washed his hands and made the switch. He glanced back at the office door. “You hanging in there?”

“Barely,” Joy said. “I just got chewed-out and I have a smackfest brewing over the check at Table One.”

Neil winced. “There goes your tip.”

“Tell me about it,” Joy said.

“Don’t worry, it’s a two-top,” he said. “It’ll turn over quick enough and you’ll get another chance to impress the locals.”

“Right. Okay,” Joy said as she carefully stacked her plates. “Any other advice for the newbie?”

Neil sprinkled the noodles with extra cheese. “Smile more. You’ll charm the socks off them.” Neil called into the kitchen. “Can we have a rush on another spaghetti, Miguel?”

IndelibleInvisible

The cook leaned his meaty arms over the counter. “For her or for you?”

“Come on, Miguel,” Neil said, hands full. “I’m begging you.”

Miguel shot Joy a look. She smiled.

“Fine,” Miguel said. “Five minutes.”

“See? What did I tell you?” Neil gave Joy a wink and took off.

Mopping up the last of the red sauce, Joy tried to think of something to tell Table Three.

“Just remember,” said Miguel. “There’s plenty of kids who want to wait tables this summer. Any one of them could do your job.”

Joy’s smile faltered. She hefted her tray, snatching a stand as she walked down the hall, feeling precarious. Her parents’ advice rang in her head: ‘If you can’t be a Yes Man, be indispensable.’ Well, then, it stood to reason that if you couldn’t be indispensable…be permanent.

Permanent. Indelible. Indelible Ink.

He imbued her everything, sinking deep into her brain.

She delivered the meals to Table Five, poured more water for Table One, and took a deep breath as she approached Table Three.

“Your meal will be a few more minutes,” Joy said with an apologetic grin. “I know that you specifically said ‘no cheese’ and when I saw your order, I couldn’t be certain, so I sent it back in case there were any allergy concerns.” Smiling, Joy realized she was literally lying through her teeth.

The businessmen sighed, deflated. One exchanged a look with his colleague.

“Thanks for checking,” he said.

“Again, I’m sorry for the delay,” she said. “Can I bring you another bread basket?”

His partner folded his napkin into sharp creases. “Might as well.”

One fire out. Two dings. Table Three? No, Four.

Joy raced back to the kitchen. Miguel was stacking plates.

“You know,” he said. “Lola’s never going to put you on dinner shift if you can’t handle lunch.”

“I know, I know, I know,” Joy muttered while printing out the check for Table One. “I can do it. Let me just drop this off and I’ll be right back.”

Miguel spun a pan and rolled his eyes.

“How is everything?” Joy asked Table One before realizing she’d committed Waitress Timing Sin by asking her question while their mouths were full. There was an awkward moment of silent waiting.

Ms. Chicken Parm chewed and swallowed. “Fine.”

“The fettuccine tastes salty,” the other woman said, swirling a bunch of noodles. “Here, taste this,” she offered the fork across the table. “Does it taste salty to you?”

Her friend wrinkled her nose. “I don’t like seafood.”

Joy kept smiling, desperate. “Would you like to order something else?”

“No, no,” the woman sighed and went back to picking at her dish. “I just wanted you to know that it was salty.”

Was it worth comping her meal to gain a better tip, or was this a total write-off? Joy hadn’t been working at Antoine’s long enough to be sure. Two dings interrupted her thoughts. Table Three. Finally!

“I’ll tell the chef,” Joy said and plunked the check on the table, dead center. Let them duke it out.

Joy paused at the fill station, snatching her phone out of her pocket and sent Monica a quick text:

Save me!

Joy briefly fantasized being somewhere with no food, bells, or people. Somewhere outside like Abbott Park where she could sit with Monica and Gordon, surrounded by trees and sun and chirping birds. Somewhere peaceful. Quiet. The only thing missing would be Ink. Well, Ink could be there, of course, but no one else would know it. Dating an invisible boyfriend had some serious downsides.

Her phone buzzed back with a message: Calvary here! When do we ride?

She typed, 4pm. Bring coffee.

A buzz a second later: Will do! Joy smiled. As a best friend, Monica rocked.

Ding! Ding!

Tucking her phone into her apron, Joy dashed around the corner and snatched the first entrée off the counter, expertly wiping the rim and generously sprinkling shaved Parmesan on the “no cheese” order.

Joy stared down at the plate. She wanted to cry.

Two dings. Table Three was waiting.

One more hour to go.

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Dawn MetcalfAbout Dawn:

I have no good excuse for the way I write. I lived in a normal, loving, suburban home, studied hard, went to college, went to graduate school, got married, had babies, and settled down in northern Connecticut. Despite this wholesome lifestyle, I was clearly corrupted by fairy tales, puppet visionaries, British humour and graphic novels. As a result, I write dark, quirky, and sometimes humorous speculative fiction.

You can visit Dawn around the web here: Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook

Want to read more from Dawn Metcalf?

Indelible (The Twixt, #1)Invisible (The Twixt, #2)Luminous

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contest

This giveaway is provided by Dawn Metcalf!

One lucky reader will win an ARC of Invisible
(US & Canada)

Invisible

Available September 30, 2014 from Harlequin Teen

About this Book:

Some things lie beneath the surface.

Invisible.

With the power to change everything.

Joy Malone wants it all—power, freedom and the boyfriend who loves her. Yet when an unstoppable assassin is hired to kill her, Joy learns that being the girl with the Sight comes with a price that might be too high to pay. Love will be tested, lives will be threatened, and everyone Joy knows and cares about will be affected by her decision to stand by Ink or to leave the Twixt forever.

Her choice is balanced on a scalpel’s edge and the consequences will be more life-altering than anyone can guess.

Pre-Order from

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